Domestic Violence Is a Crime Society Ignores
Smith, Joan, The Independent (London, England)
The figures are horrifying: almost 60 murders so far this year, and on average a victim calls the police every single minute. Families are devastated, children orphaned, and the damage continues into the next generation; it's an epidemic of crime, in the jargon of the day, but you'll rarely read about it or see the victims' photographs.
I'm talking about domestic violence, which affects one woman in four, according to the Home Office, which also says that two women a week are killed by their current or former male partner. Why don't we see their pictures? Why isn't there a public outcry about our fractured society which is so signally failing to protect vulnerable women and children?
If we care about young men being stabbed on the streets of Manchester or London, as of course we should, why aren't we also up in arms about a crime which accounts for 15 per cent - around one in seven - of all violent incidents and leaves hundreds of thousands of women in fear of their lives?
I'm not saying it doesn't happen to men as well, but the Home Office says quite categorically that this type of crime "consists mainly of violence by men against women". Children who witness their mothers being beaten or murdered are severely traumatised, and there is a strong connection between domestic violence, sexual violence and child abuse.
You'd think this was a meaty subject for David Cameron's Tories and the press to get their teeth into, yet for the most part they're strangely silent. They'd much rather focus on knife crime, which one Conservative MP, David Ruffley, seems to hold the Government directly responsible for. "Between Labour coming to power and the end of 2007, the number killed by sharp instruments was up by 29 per cent," he declared earlier this week. "No wonder public anxiety is as high as it is."
He is right about the level of public anxiety, but it isn't simply a consequence of inexorably rising levels of crime. As the annual crime report for England and Wales revealed yesterday, recorded crime actually fell by 9 per cent in the 12 months to March, and the risk of becoming a victim is at its lowest-ever level.
If he felt so inclined, Mr Ruffley could even claim some credit on behalf of John Major's government, given that the trend began in 1995. But then he might also have to …
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Publication information: Article title: Domestic Violence Is a Crime Society Ignores. Contributors: Smith, Joan - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: July 18, 2008. Page number: 36. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.